November 16, 2007

Ann, Part Dos

Time for Part 2 of the Ann story. For those of you who missed out on part one, it’s right below this one. Pretty cool how that works, huh?

Ann and I played with our Barbie dolls a lot. In all honesty, I would have rather been out climbing a tree or riding my bike, but Ann loved playing with Barbie dolls. And sometimes when your best friend wants to do something that you may not necessarily want to do, you do it anyway. You do it simply because she's your best friend in the whole wide world, and she has a Slip 'n Slide.

My favorite in the Barbie line was Skipper. Mostly because Skipper didn’t have boobs that could leave puncture wounds on my delicate, young flesh, and she had one kick-ass swimsuit. It was red and had a striped, v-shaped inset on the chest and a matching striped flounce around the bottom. I always wished there was some way I could magically enlarge it so I could wear my very own Skipper swimsuit.

Ann got to take her Barbie dolls out of the box brand new. Mine were hand me downs from my older sisters and their hair had been hacked off, and they had at least one foot that had been chewed on (the doll’s hair and feet, not my sister’s). At Ann’s house Ken and Barbie would do a lot of dry humping and cussing. At my house Ken and Barbie got baptized and did a lot of praying. Her Barbie had inflatable furniture. Pink, squishy inflatable furniture. My Barbie had a greeting card box for a bed, and her dresser was made from glued together matchboxes. Ann had the 3-story Barbie Dream House with an elevator. A lacy elevator with heart cut-outs. My Barbie Dream House was fashioned out of shoe boxes and glitter. Lots of glitter.

Ann had all of the newest clothes for her Barbie, and every stitch of clothing my Barbie had was sewn by my mother. Which translates to: her Barbie had to be dressed in the pink, polyester skirt that came with the shirt that came with the jewelry that came with the shoes that came with the purse. My Barbie wore whatever the hell she wanted to, and probably didn’t match.

But the other day, when I started thinking about all of my handmade Barbie stuff, I had a mini-epiphany. By not having the pre-fab furniture, I had to be creative. I had to think, well not exactly outside the box, but rather about the box. Lots of boxes, in my case. And my mother, with her many faults and malfunctions, took the time to sew my Barbie some clothes which meant that my Barbie was wearing stuff that no other Barbie was wearing.

This creativeness by necessity has stayed with me, although now it’s not by necessity, but because I enjoy it. I would much rather go to a flea market and find a funky piece of furniture to add to the odd assortment of furniture I already own, rather than go buy a matching set of furniture. And now my outfits are thrown together pieces that I've found here and there. A jumbled array of vintage and new. I'm most comfortable in jeans and whatever shirt fits my fancy for the day. Some days my fancy is extremely hard to fit. It's highly possibly that I'll have on a hat and some pretty cute shoes, because I love both more than you can imagine. I might even have a 60s era scarf slapped around my neck and an old butterfly pin stuck somewhere on my outfit. But you can bet your sweet hindquarters that I most definitely will not be wearing a pink, polyester skirt that came with the shirt that came with the jewelry that came with the shoes that came with the purse.

And this is the story that Barbie built.

But, I’d still love to have Skipper’s swimsuit.

Take Care,


  1. I like what you said about "thinking about the box." I think that's much more important than simply thinking outside of it, which can mean looking at things from a different perspective, but accepting that the "inside-the-box" view is one of several legitimate views. And when it comes to religion, people may be willing to step outside of their particular box for a short time, but then they often just crawl back into the comfort of "their" box without having learned a whole lot. Thinking about the box forces us to question whether the box, or any of the other boxes, should exist at all.

  2. We've been meaning to talk to you about all that glitter you wear.

    There's a pretty good moral to this story, which is: If you deprive kids of all that shit they see on TV, they might grow up to know how to use their minds. Of course, another scarier moral is: If you don't get your daughter every single Barbie accoutrement she wants, she might grow up to be an opinionated, dirty-mouthed atheist.

    Actually, now that I think of it, those two morals are exactly the same. Your fans like me are lucky you didn't get that Dream House, with or without the elevator. If you did, you might be writing a blog called "Sunbeam for Jesus." Then you'd have to find atheist images in food and funny atheist signs. Wouldn't work, would it?

  3. Sarge6:55 PM

    I grew up on military bases, we moved a lot, so I was always an outsider. My parents "loved" me, but they told me that they found me to be a very unsatisfying, odd, and even alarming child.

    During my 4th grade year I really learned a lot and it contained some of the more identifiable "Ah HAH!" moments, experiences that have really formed me.

    When we were stayng with my mother's parents waiting for our port call (age eight) I 'came out' as an atheist. Sometimes I can almost believe in Socrates' daemon, I certainly don't know why I blurted that truth out in the fashion I did and took what came without a whimper. It surprised me as much as it shocked my mother and the angry 'authority figure'.

    That was also the year that I figured out that my place was pretty much as part of society's jettisonable tail. Ballast to be thrown overboard, something to be shed and left for the predator in time of danger. Dyslexia wasn't even thought of, I guess. Oh, I could do most of the things they wanted, just slow and "the wrong way".

    We got to Germany (1955)and as I came in after the school year, so things weren't easy. I got an intimation of what was what one day during recess. Some of us were playing with a basketball, just running, kicking throwing, shouting, having a good time at recess. Our teacher observed this and got some older kids to show us haow to do this "the right way". In not too many minutes, just a few kids were playing, the rest of us didn't know what we were doing and were told to get out of there. One kid complained to the teacher, was told that they knew what they were doing and we were to just watch. Another divide, the sanctification of people who deal with things that bounce, and the relegation of others to 'spectators'.

    Well, if you got too far away from the main crowd the bullies would drag you off, so what to do? (I'd called attention to myself; was new and considered fair game. Got beaten by the bullies, got trouble for 'letting' them tear and bloody my clothes when I got home. Found a piece of galvanized 3/4" pipe with a fitting on the end, and next time they came I laid on. Got in BIG trouble because I could have really hurt them. And I 'didn't want to do that'. Like shit.) And they (bullies) knew that the teachers would pay no attention to what they did and I didn't have an equalizer in school.

    I'd taken up viola, and discovered that the only thing I seemed to do that my parents and other adults didn't find wanting was practice my instrument, which I enjoyed anyway. So, I sneaked down to the music room (never locked in that more naive time) and started playing. An adult came and demanded to know why I was in there. I said I wanted to pracice, was rebuked and frog marched to the 'play' ground. Tried again a couple days later, was again caught, this time visited the vice principal who already didn't like me. Trouble ensued.
    Tried yet again, was caught by yet another adult who demanded an accounting, and this time, my face assumed a truculent sulleness, and I said (surprised) "It's not fair! Everopne else gets to go out but she says if I can't do what I'm told I gotta stay in and practice this stupid thing!" I saw the face assume the look, and I was told 'get busy'! Glared at me, closed the door. I played a bit, stopped, the door flew open, and I was told to keep playing.

    So, if I wanted to do it, no go. If it was thought to be punishment, keep your nose to the grindstone. Where the inspiration came from, I don't know.

    I went down to one of the local towns after school and weekends and met other kids, Germans who were also not quite in the fascinated with spherical objects and other popular pastimes of all kids, and I got together with them. Remember, in those days there wasn't a lot of love between Germans and Americans, but we had something.

    When we left in 1958 I could herd and milk goats, sheep, and cows, knew to keep goats and sheep milk in crockery rather than metal, could drive oxen, start a heavy oil engine, fix a shoe, use a hand mill and dress the stone, drive three yoke of oxen, and sharpen cutlery. I was also fluent in German.

    I knew secrets that only we oddballs and 'nerds' knew. How to sett rebhuhn and not get caught by the jaegermeister, and where in the woods were the unrecovered bodies of five dead from WWII. Two were airmen, the other three were groundpounders, only one identifiable as German. It was our secret.

    Being "out of step" my whole life caused problems but the rewards were quite profound.

  4. I think the playing of shoe boxes and match boxes for Barbie furniture started a creativity in me that I've taken into my adult life. I look at the McMansions and know that I can make a better 'home' out of parts and pieces that I find interesing.
    I also had the curly hair and only dork knowldege as to what to do with it, that unfortunately hasn't passed. Perhaps I need a box.

  5. The Barbie dream house *sigh* I had that, and the Barbie pop-up camper, but I really wanted (and didn't get) the corvette that my next-door neighbor had. Most of my Barbie clothes were made by my grandmother though. So I got a taste of both worlds.

  6. I never had a Ken doll. All I had was a Barbie with hair cut short that I used as a Ken doll.

    Boy I can just imagine what my grandmother would have thought if she'd ever come back to the bedroom and seen me with my Barbie and "Ken" dry humping. :)

  7. Ordinary Girl:
    Perhaps your grandmother had nasty visions of what you would do with Barbie and Ken, or even worse, Barbie, Ken and Skipper! :0

  8. Sarge8:27 PM

    My sister had a Barbie, my poor mother (who was easily brought to this condition) was scandalized when she discovered that said Barbie had acquiered red nipples thanks to some lipstick.

    I got the blame and I was innocent! INNOCENT, I tell you!

    I was outraged; it was something I SHOULD have thought of, but dammit, she beat me to it and got me in trouble, besides. My admiration for her perfidy knew no bounds.

  9. Sarge8:29 PM

    She still has a collection and I've been hunting high and low for a KLAUS Barbi dall to send her as a joke.

    I'd try it because the better part of a continent is between us.

  10. Evie - Very, very well said. That's brilliant, in fact. Who knew someone could get something that deep out of one of my posts.

    Ex - Leave my glitter alone, beehotch. I love my shiny things. I agree, the morals are the same. Well, I don't know that the potty mouth has to come with it, but what the hell, it's fun!

    Sarge - It always makes me sad to hear about other people who had a rough time as a child. It just breaks my heart, but it just thrills me to no end when I learn that those same children have grown up and embraced their "different-ness". So, just keep staying out of step and rock on with your bad self.

    Carla- I had this feeling that you'd be another cardboard box girl. As far as the curly hair goes, just give into it. That's what I do. I just let my hair do whatever the hell it wants to, and consequences be damned!

    Enonomi- Ann had the Barbie pop-up camper AND the corvette. I didn't even attempt to make a camper and my Barbie's rode around in my brother's Tonka trucks. But I'm so happy you had hand-made Barbie clothes.

    OG- Oh sweet fancy Moses, that's funny. Ken had man boobs.

    Sarge - I can honestly say that I never thought of putting lipstick on my Barbie's nips.

  11. Anonymous12:00 AM

    I can throw my sad barbie story in here can I?

    I never had one. Ever. I secretly took my little sisters dolls(cause her dad and my mom spoilt her fucking rotten) and I tried to play with them, out of jealousy. Then I realized I wasn't even having fun, I didn't eve LIKE the things.

    I then headed for my little brothers Transformers and the cheap cousins, the Gobots.

    Sigh. All I had was a red sand filled dog, whos head fell off when I dropped it from the top bunk. I cried seeing all the sand on the floor and my mother sweeping it up. She didn't even try to fix it for me.

    Gads now Im depressed.

    But no! My girls love anime and read Manga. I love them for loving anime. Who wants My Little Pony or Care Bears? No them. Give em a book on how to draw a passable Roxas and they're pretty happy.

  12. You are fabulous. If it makes you feel better, my Barbie was one from the 50s or 60s with hideous, coarse bouffant hair and clothes made by someone in the 50s and 60s. I hated her. They also wore scraps of material in which I had cut holes for arms and tied with a ribbon.

    We can hang anytime. I love hats and jeans. I went to an open house on Saturday to sell my scarves (sold a whopping three) and every other "consultant" was dressed up like they were going to church or work. I had jeans and my Detroit Soul t-shirt. Oops. ;-)

  13. Sarge8:51 AM

    Miss Babs, I guess we all have some bumpy rides, but I have to admit that being an outsider even among outsiders, although hard, gave me experiences that most other kids my age couldn't dream of.

    I didn't buy what the conventionalists were selling and I became a doer, not one of those who is a spectator or one acted upon. Because of my learning disabilty and hatred of school/church and problems in the family, I went elsewhere.

    Because of this, people tell me I'm "delightfully eccentric". I'm poor: thus not eccentric, I'm a NUT. I admit it.

    My parents took me places in the world, gave me advice. Problem was, I actually took it to heart and acted on it. They spoke in absolutes and I took them at their word.

    Leave It To Beaver is being run, and young people I know have seen it. Now, as then, they can see that the only kid who really knew the score was Eddy Haskell, much to the disquiet of most adults.

    Have you ever read the novel or seen the movie The Great Santini? It came out while I was still in the army and a bunch of the people who I was with went to see it. After the movie a couple of my fellow "military brats" said they wished THEY had fathers as kind, attentive, thoughtful, loving, and caring as Bull. They were serious. The non-brats thought they were crazy. It's just comparisons, I guess.

    Sorry, I do tend to ramble.

    Keep the non-faith, my fine lady.

  14. Claudia - Oh that is sad, especially about your little red dog. Here's a hug for you and your little girl.

    Kat - Oh I know we could hang. I never had a boufant-haired Barbie, but I can remember trying to make clothes for her by cutting holes in fabric and stapling it shut.

    Sarge - Never apologize for rambling. You are free to ramble all over the place.

  15. I had no barbies but I had G.I. Joe dolls and all the packaged accessories. I just learned to be creative anyway. My best friend dropped one of my G.I. Joe's into a glass of coolade. He was an idiot.

    Wow. That story was useless.

  16. Fwig - That story was perfect. Did I mention that I've missed you?

    I know I'm gushing, but I can't help it.